California requires all parents to complete a Home Language Survey when they register their children for school. The survey asks:
- What language did this student learn when first beginning to talk?
- What language do you use most frequently to speak to this student?
- What language does this student most frequently use at home?
- What language is most often spoken by the adults at home?
English Proficiency Testing Process
If the answer to any of the questions on the survey is a language other than English, federal and state laws require that the student’s English proficiency be evaluated. In California, this test is called the California English Language Development Test and is designed to monitor English language fluency in K-12 students whose home language is not English.
The results of this test determine if the student is an:
English Learner (EL) OR Initial Fluent English Proficient (IFEP)
- If a student initially tests at an Early Advanced or Advanced level and has teacher and parent recommendation, the student can be classified as Initial Fluent English Proficient (IFEP). They are not classified as an English Learner.
- If they do not test at an early advanced or advanced level they are classified as an English Learner (EL) and qualify for extra services through the school to help the become English Proficient.
California Ed Code (Sections 60810-60812) requires all students designated as English Learners (ELs) to take an English proficiency test yearly until they become proficient in English. Parents and guardians cannot remove (opt out) their children from this requirement.
In the 2017-18 school year, California is transitioning to a new English language proficiency assessment. ELPAC will be taking the place of CELDT. In the fall of 2017, CELDT will be administered to new students based on the Home Language Survey as well as current English Learners. In the spring of 2018, the summative ELPAC will be administered to all English Learners. Between February and May, English Learners in all grades will be assessed at their school site.